Each month, when I finish a deadline for the upcoming issue, I face a dilemma of partial delight, partial fright.
It is the time when I must decide what I will cover for the following issue in the 20-some days I have to satisfy the next deadline.
Think of it: I am responsible for coming up with the coverage I think readers will find most useful. This "blank page" I must write upon awaits for the words I must choose to reach thousands of readers with almost every imaginable crop and livestock across eight very unique states.
Some of the choices will be made for me in terms of news that demands covering, but a lot of the features you read in Western Farmer-Stockman are ideas generated through my contact with the industry and what wonderful articles I can dream up at 3 a.m. when I awake in a deadline panic.
As editor, I am the pivot man for your stories. When you contact me with your ideas, I pick the ones I think will be of interest to the most readers, and charge into the interviews and photos.
While there is no lack of features in my vast ag territory, being careful to cover each segment of the industry with its fair share of the magazine is challenging. Not only do I hope to represent each of the states monthly, I must strive to give a fair share to livestock, crops, agribusiness news and the latest take-home research results.
Some of the best phone calls or e-mails I get are from those of you who start out by saying "I've got a great story for you…!"
Such leads are usually genuinely newsworthy, and the call means in most cases that not only do I have an idea from industry, but a party to interview to do that feature.
It isn't that this saves time so much as it is the fact that here is a hot topic I may have missed that someone out there thinks we should examine.
Of course, you see here another bid for you to call or e-mail us when you have what you feel is a good story idea. It is my quest to encourage more readers to participate in news coverage.
While I have so many resources in my coverage area providing great leads, it is those features which I miss because I cannot be in your state often enough to catch every important story that causes me concern.
This is your magazine, and I work for you. Without readers who like what we do, editors fail in their endeavor to provide what is relevant.
I would also like this opportunity to encourage you to use our website on a daily basis. We update it with news from the West every single day of the work week, and provide an assortment of information from our many editors on what is happening in every quarter of the ag news world.
And, in case this one is of interest, we have other editors writing blogs regarding their personal glimpses of the industry as well.
Hopefully, you find it all of service.